Lee County Biography


Superintendent William Romanus Snyder, for five years superintendent of the schools of Dixon and throughout his entire life active in the field of education, is a native of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His parents, Conrad and Catherine Jane (Fisher) Snyder, were also natives of the Keystone state, where the father followed the occupation of farming until his life's labors were ended in death in 1860. His widow long survived, passing away in 1902. They were the parents of eight children, of whom Superintendent Snyder is the fourth in order of birth. Spending his boyhood in the historic town of Gettysburg and tramping many times over the battlefield where rest many of the bravest of the soldiers of both north and south, Professor Snyder devoted the greater part of Ins youth to his school work, attending the public schools, from which he was graduated with honor. His high standing won him free scholarship in the Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, a scholarship founded by Edward G. McPherson, ex-clerk of the house of representatives. Mr. Snyder graduated from Pennsylvania College in 1873 and his alma mater has since conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree. Throughout his entire life he has followed the profession of teaching. He was first connected with the district schools of Wyandot county, Ohio, through one winter and later removed to Indiana, where he engaged in teaching until 1903. For twenty years he was connected with the schools of Muncie, Indiana, being for four years a teacher and principal in the high school. Later he was for sixteen years superintendent of the schools there, which under his guidance made rapid progress. He went from Muncie to Monmouth, Illinois, where he remained for two years as superintendent of schools, and in 1909 came to Dixon, where for five years he has now had charge of the city schools. He holds advanced ideas concerning education and believes with Kant that "the object of education is to train each individual to reach the highest perfection possible for him." All through his professional career he has been guided by the spirit of President Eliot of Harvard, when he said: "What is needed is continuous education which lasts all through life," and deep thought concerning the problems of the profession, earnest consideration of the methods of others, combined with wide reading and study have continually promoted his efficiency until his recognized power has gained him place among the foremost public-school educators of the middle west.

In 1878 Mr. Snyder was united in marriage to Miss Nannie B. Ferran, of Acton, Indiana, and they now have two daughters, Lilly E. and Myrtle Morrow, both at home. The family attend the Presbyterian church, of which Superintendent Snyder and his wife are active and helpful members. He serving as one of its ruling elders. His political support is given to the republican party and his wide reading on significant and vital questions of the day enables him to intelligently express himself upon important questions of government. In Masonry he has attained high rank in both the York and Scottish Rites. He is a past master of the blue lodge, thrice illustrious master in the council and past eminent commander of the commandery. He also served as prelate in the commandery for nine years. He is a member of the consistory, having attained the thirty-second degree, there remaining before him only the last and honorary degree, the thirty-third. The spirit of Masonic teaching has found exemplification in his life and at all times he has endeavored to follow its tenets concerning mutual helpfulness and brotherly kindness.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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